So YouTube wants to have an app on every device, especially TVs. That way users can watch all of its content from their living room, just like regular TV. But it has a problem: If viewers can’t find anything to watch on cable, with several hundred channels to choose from, how are they supposed to navigate through the millions of channels and billions of videos available on YouTube? They’re certainly not going to be able to do that with your typical remote control.
To solve this problem, YouTube has been refining its video player for connected TVs, with more of a focus on continuous playback of channels that users have subscribed to. More importantly, it’s been working hard to provide ways for viewers to navigate through its video library on their mobile devices, and then allowing them to beam the videos that they want to watch to the TV.
It does this through mobile device pairing, which it introduced on Google TV devices and the PlayStation 3 and Xbox game consoles earlier this year. But pairing is coming to a lot more devices soon. At CES, YouTube will be showing off mobile pairing with a number of new devices from manufacturers such as Bang & Olufsen, LG, Panasonic, and Sony. And it expects to have the same feature rolling out on other devices throughout the year, from manufacturers such as Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and Western Digital, among others.
Not only has the number of devices that YouTube pairs with been expanded, but the process of connecting them has been simplified. According to a YouTube spokesperson, for these new devices, users won’t necessarily have to go to a certain mobile website to link up with those devices. Instead, the YouTube apps will recognize that they are on the same network, allowing for near-instant connectivity between the two.
By doing so, YouTube will give users instant access to all their favorite videos and channels from the mobile app directly on the TV. They’ll be able to instantly watch videos they’ve found on their mobile or tablet devices, or queue them up to be watched as a playlist. And for when your friends are around, the feature allows multiple different users on the same network to add to a playlist, rather than just rely on one device for control.
In addition to mobile pairing, all new devices being showcased at CES will have YouTube’s new, simplified TV user interface, which you can check out at www.youtube.com/tv. The UI provides an easy way to navigate through different categories of channels and users’ own subscribed feeds with a traditional remote control. But let’s be honest — with mobile pairing, that’s probably going to be the best way to find videos YouTube viewers want to watch.